Bonsai meaning & History

The Japanese word Bonsai is featured by two words fuse together: BON which translate into pot or container and SAI that means tree.

In very simplistic words the word Bonsai is than interpreted as tree in a pot even if the true meaning of Bonsai is way much deeper and more articulated, since philosophy, religions and spirituality is involved in the core of a true Bonsai and not only the artistic element or the horticultural skills.

This ancient spiritual and artistic form find his roots in China more than 1000 year ago were the relationships between nature and mankind was expressed in two thinking philosophy or representations.

The first PUN-SAI which was the antecedent term to the Japanese word Bonsai and so the meaning “tree in a pot” and the second PENZAI today well known as Penjing a landscape representation made by tree, rocks and water on a tray to recreate a sort of three-dimensional painting.

In Japan this miniaturization practice of the tree arrived after many years from China.

The tree is seen as object of meditation and so deserve to be the main element of attention.

Based on this concept the tree is display on his own in a pot usually on a Tokonoma (Japanese specific Bonsai display surface) along with accent plants and scrolls to enable the viewer to fully enjoy the beauty of the tree and his great spirituality.

Bonsai arrived in Europe many centuries after this practice was fully embrace in Japan.

The first appearance of Bonsai in Europe was in 1878 at the Paris International Exhibition. From this event took many more years for Bonsai to be fully established as practice out of Japan but today seem to be a flourishing hobby approached by many enthusiasts all over the world.


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